The National Archives’ mobile phone and mobile broadband contracts

FOI request reference: CAS-69118-S4Z9Q0
Publication date: June 2021

Request

1) How many employees are at your organisation?

2) How many mobile phone and mobile broadband (data only) connections do you currently have?

3) What is the split between mobile phone and mobile broadband connections?

4) Who is your mobile phone network provider?

5) Did you switch providers on your last renewal?

6) Please provide a monthly breakdown of your total mobile phone contract costs for the past 12 months, and state whether VAT has been included in the numbers given.

7) Does your contract include a hardware, tech or transformation fund?

8) If the answer to question 7 is yes, what was the value of the fund upon the signing of the current contract?

9) How have you sourced the contract?

10) What is the contract term length?

11) How long do you have remaining on your current contract?

12) Who is the primary contact for this contract?”

Outcome

Some information provided.

Response

Information regarding our mobile phone contract is contained in a previous FOI response and published on our website. Please use the following link to access our previous response:
https://www.nationalarchives.gov.uk/about/freedom-of-information/information-requests/the-national-archives-mobile-phone-contract/

1) How many employees are at your organisation?
We currently have 550 employees

2) How many mobile phone and mobile broadband (data only) connections do you currently have?
This information is covered by the exemption at section 21 of the FOIA. Please see the link provided above.

3) What is the split between mobile phone and mobile broadband connections?
This information is covered by the exemption at section 21 of the FOIA. Please see the link provided above.

4) Who is your mobile phone network provider?
This information is covered by the exemption at section 21 of the FOIA. Please see the link provided above.

5) Did you switch providers on your last renewal?
No.

6) Please provide a monthly breakdown of your total mobile phone contracts costs for the past 12 months, and state whether VAT has been included in the numbers given.

This information is covered by the exemption at section 21 of the FOIA. Please see the link provided above.
A monthly breakdown can be derived from the contract annual spend divided by 12 months.

7) Does your contract include a hardware, tech or transformation fund?

This information is covered by the exemption at section 43 (2) of the FOI Act. However, information about all contracts and agreements with a value over £10,000 are published in the public domain, and can be found at https://www.contractsfinder.service.gov.uk/.

8) If the answer to question 7 is yes, what was the value of the fund upon the signing of the current contract?

This information is covered by the exemption at section 43 (2) of the FOI Act. However, information about all contracts and agreements with a value over £10,000 are published in the public domain, and can be found at https://www.contractsfinder.service.gov.uk/.

9) How have you sourced the contract?

The contract was sourced via the Government frameworks.

10) What is the contract term length?

This information is covered by the exemption at section 21 of the FOIA. Please see the link provided above.

11) How long do you have remaining on your current contract?

This information is covered by the exemption at section 21 of the FOIA. Please see the link provided above.

12) Who is the primary contact for this contract?

We are unable to provide you with this information because it would identify a junior member of staff and as such is exempt from release under section 40 (2) of the FOI Act. However, at The National Archives we apply the general principle that members of staff at Head of Department level and above are sufficiently senior for their names and/or job titles to already be in the public domain and are therefore not exempt from release.

The Head of IT Operations at The National Archives is Julian Muller.

The National Archives’ full contact options can be found on our website here: https://apps.nationalarchives.gov.uk/contact/.

EXPLANATORY ANNEX

Exemptions applied.

Section 43 (2) – Commercial Interests

This section exempts information whose disclosure would be likely to prejudice the commercial interests of any person. In this case, the exemption applies because it would be likely to harm or prejudice the commercial interests of our current and potential future suppliers.

Section 43 (2) is a qualified exemption and we are required to conduct a public interest test when applying any qualified exemption. This means that after it has been decided that the exemption is engaged, the public interest in releasing the information must be considered. If the public interest in disclosing the information outweighs the public interest in withholding it then the exemption does not apply and must be release. In the FOIA there is a presumption that information should be released unless there are compelling reasons to withhold it.

Considerations in favour of the release of the information included The National Archives’ commitment to openness and transparency in its commercial activities, to allow public scrutiny and to demonstrate that public funds are being used in an efficient and effective way. Furthermore private sector companies engaging in commercial activities with the public sector must expect some information about those activities to be disclosed.

Considerations against disclosure included the recognition that disclosure is likely to provide information to direct competitors within the market that would create an imbalance and a commercial advantage to those competitors. Furthermore disclosure of this information is also likely to affect The National Archives’ ability to negotiate contracts in the future and consequently generate revenue from non-public funds. It is also considered that disclosure would be likely to deter potential bidders for future contracts from competing and sharing commercially sensitive information with us. This would outweigh any benefits of release. It was therefore decided that the balance of the public interest lies clearly in favour of withholding the material on this occasion.

Further guidance can be found at:

Section 43 – Commercial Interests (ICO.org.uk).

Section 40 (2): Personal Information where the applicant is not the data subject

Data Protection Legislation prevents personal information from release if it would be unfair or at odds with the reason why it was collected, or where the subject had officially served notice that releasing it would cause them damage or distress.

In this case the exemption applies because this information represents the personal information of a junior member of staff at The National Archives.

Publishing the names and contact details of junior members of staff is considered an unfair use of personal data. Junior members of staff would have no expectation that information about their positions would be made available in the public domain; to do so would be unfair and contravene Art. 5 of the General Data Protection Regulation. As such, the names, positions and contact details of junior officials are withheld under section 40 (2) of the FOI Act.

Further guidance can be found at:

Section 40 – Personal Information (ICO.org.uk).

Section 21: Information readily available to the applicant by other means

Section 21 of the Freedom of Information Act 2000 (FOIA) does not oblige a public authority to provide information if it is already reasonably accessible by other means. In this case the exemption applies because the information is already available.

Further guidance can be found at:

Section 21 – Information readily available to the applicant by other means (ICO.org.uk).